I’ve been viewing this work as that of an artist that plays with ideas.  As an artist, I change or modify my perspective on a sweep of data until I acquire a position (have an experience) that suggests beauty, subtlety and complexity.  I then evaluate those ideas based on how potentially useful they are.

In other words, I am looking for useful stories.

I am coming to the conclusion that the world is so complex and so gorgeously constructed that any theory–that is what I specialize in, creating theories–can only be a temporary, partial explanation.  It feels obvious that the universe was created by god as artist.  It is while deeply engaged in the artistic process that the universe feels most understandable.

So, I look for patterns.  If I had been trained in music, I would be composing and playing tunes.  That not being the case, I compose and play the patterns evident in the world around me.  Theory formation is so like music because those patterns I draw out from my environment are so deeply influenced by my culture, the information available, my sense structure (sight, feeling, hearing, taste and smell) and my personal experiences.  The theories I come …

Soft Citation

March 23, 2009 | Leave a Comment

Category: Uncategorized

Over the course of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, higher education acquired its current denomination or discipline/subdiscipline structure.  Germany established a paradigm for government-academia relations that was reproduced in the United States and then utilized in the Second World War to create an integrated response to the international crisis.  University-government interlocking hierarchies were established that achieved national security goals.  The U.S. became a military behemoth and then the prime economic power.  The structure of higher education has reflected this vertical frame of reference.  The citation system has been integral to this rise.

It is a premise of this work that the two heterochronic directions of human evolution, neoteny and acceleration, also manifest in society.  Patrifocal societies, or what Eisler calls dominator societies, compel a vertical, top-down, male-control frame.  This reflects the societal encouragement of maturational accelerated, dominating males and neotenous, cooperative females.

I have been suggesting that contemporary society is in the middle of a transition to a matrifocal, matristic, partnership society featuring horizontal structures, egalitarian diversity, transparency and a breaking down of walls.  Commanding, maturationally accelerated women mate with cooperative, neotenous men to support a society where verticality feels like an obstruction to creativity and a sharing …

Amateurization of Academia

March 22, 2009 | 1 Comment

Category: Future, Society, Web

I’ve often talked about the horizontalization of society in these essays as I’m describing the influence of neoteny and matrifocal culture on contemporary times.  I’ve presented my view that the exponential growth of the web is a direct result of these social impulses.  Consider that we are about to begin a profound transformation of our academic institutions that will result in a surge of unique ideas.

A big positive of our academic communities is that they provide a space for like minds to congregate and integrate ideas.  That space offers opportunities for peer review, from which useful consensus can emerge.  That space is about to exponentially expand.

There are two distinct kinds of information that is gathered, stored and distributed as part of the services that academic communities perform.  First, there are data.  It is essential that data be of high quality and trusted.  Ernst Haeckel compromised a whole school of evolutionary biology with liberties he took diagramming animal ontogeny.  Several successive U.S. administrations have modified inflation and economic growth metrics to enhance the picture they wished to see described.  Not good.  High quality data are vital to good science.

The second kind of information has to do with the …

“No one, least of all Williams and Kafatos, expect the eventual story to be so simple. But it does seem likely that normal development is controlled by gradually decreasing concentration of a hormone acting primarily at high levels of the regulatory system. This is also an ideal mechanism for the simple and rapid production of heterochronic effects. Any acceleration of adult characters by reduction in the titer of juvenile hormone, or extension of juvenile traits by maintenance of a high titer, represents heterochrony. Since minor alterations in the concentration of a hormone can lead to substantial changes in morphology, heterochrony may play an important role in geographic variation (secretion of juvenile hormone is influenced by temperature and photoperiod, for example), polymorphism (including sex, caste, and phase) and speciation itself.” (Gould, S.J. (1977) Ontogeny and Phylogeny. Cambridge: Belknap Press, pp. 295-6)

A premise of this work, this theory I’m calling the Theory of Waves, is that testosterone is instrumental in changing rates of maturation, leading to neoteny and acceleration. I’ve been eating and breathing this assumption for so long I forget that it is little discussed in the biological literature, let alone in neuropsychological or anthropological discussions. Gould above alludes …

Gregory Bateson in his Steps to an Ecology of Mind discussed a unique feature of the human species that he believed is responsible for our destructive behavior. Humans are able to visualize a future, splitting time, and then focus on the steps necessary to achieve a specific future. In addition, with humans, steps imagined and achieved on the way toward a future don’t have to be examined for their repercussions on other people or other aspects of the environment.

Competitors are encouraged to “stay focused.” Shutting out the world achieves goals. Bateson might suggest that this ability to shut out the world also destroys it.

This blog describes a hypothetical proto society characterized by dance-and-song-driven rituals and a population selecting neotenous features in our species over time. We lived in dreamtime. We communicated by gesture. Both cerebral hemispheres were the same size, the corpus callosum brain bridge was still wide, we did not split time and children did not know who their fathers were. We were random-handed, left and right-handed half the time.

There were changes, changes described in this work. The result was society stopped selecting exclusively for aesthetics and started selecting for those adept at spoken language, splitting …

I met a young person at a party.  She was a freshly minted clinical psychotherapist interning to become experienced in her profession.  As someone that had been seriously considering the same profession thirty years ago, I had questions about what models she uses to perform interventions.

I expected that she would be describing psychotherapeutic models I was unfamiliar with, and I was right.  What I had learned was mostly unfamiliar to her and vice versa.  The conversation was disjointed, though.  It took me to the end of the short conversation to discover a particularly important piece.  Almost all her patient contacts took place in a setting with no privacy, in rooms filled with other people, with people she would only see once or twice.

The reason the conversation was confused was that every minute to ninety seconds her cell phone would ring.  She’d then review what was on the screen and sometimes text.  It was after this occurred the fifth time that she told me that in the environment that she practiced her profession there was little in common with the way I’d been trained.

Thirty years is a long time in a social transition.  The relationship between time and …

New Time

March 18, 2009 | Leave a Comment

Category: Future, Society, Web

Over the last few decades, there has been a seeming decrease in available time as both parents needed jobs, traffic took longer to negotiate and leisure became less about relaxing and enjoying and more about decompressing.  At the same time, enormous amounts of money have gone into entertainment vehicles paid for by advertising dollars that we feel compelled to watch with the leisure time we have.

We are coming to an end of an age where just money buys influence and buys time.  The shift is subtle, yet unmistakable.

Online social networking has become the avenue through which individuals seek friends, cement relationships, look for respect, express creativity, listen for trends, consider proposals and search for jobs.  Those excelling at the medium put in the hours.  The number of people that an individual affects grows wider with time.  In the world of social networking, time equals influence.  Facebook, My Space, Twitter and the others use up enormous amounts of time.

As the economy spirals downward and our identity shifts from a consumer to a steward frame of reference, what we observe in media will transform as advertiser dollars disappear.  Programming will grow to reflect the creations of a new tech, …

I just noted the NY Times article on Somali Autism. My 1998 conjectures that this could occur are discussed in several pieces here. The piece, Somali Children in Minnesota, Autism and the Effects of Light on Uterine Testosterone supplies the best summary.

Information coming out today that I haven’t seen before include articles mentioning higher rates of autism in other countries among immigrants. The Huffington Post noted, “Higher than normal autism rates among children of immigrants have also been reported in Ireland, the UK and several cities in North America, especially Montreal.”

One article notes a Swedish study concluding autism is higher among Somali immigrants in Sweden.

I see no articles that mention my posted pieces on the subject, or the work of Norman Geschwind that inspired my hypothesis.…

Attracted to making music during portions of my life, I’ve never given in to the desire to learn an instrument.  Instead, I’ve made music by learning a single key on an instrument and then played that instrument for a particular feeling, usually revolving around one song or two.  A flute makes a sad song, a harmonica offers encouragement, piano suggestions of wisdom, the recorder joy, kalimba sociality, drumming earnestness and sexuality, and the bouzouki loss.  Never having learned an instrument except for these brief visits, my fingers and lips are familiar with these evocations of feelings as if I lived in several foreign countries for short times, never having learned the language.

I approach theorizing in a similar manner.  I feel attracted to particular disciplines and the theories in those disciplines based upon the feelings that those theories awaken in me.  In the same way that I don’t learn an instrument, I don’t become any discipline’s adept, but I become somewhat proficient in those portions of the discipline that evoke powerful feelings, feelings of reverence.

I am guided by wonder.  My journeys across the fret boards/keys of instruments and the relationships evoked by theories in different disciplines are explorations characterized …

Post Facebook

March 16, 2009 | Leave a Comment

Category: Uncategorized

There has been a barrier preventing immigrants, gays, minorities and labor from achieving the power to gain respect.  Central to this barrier are media that rarely reflect the population that they broadcast to, instead hawking a conventional wisdom that serves controlling interests.

The huge immigrant rights demonstrations a couple years ago were driven in part by the participation of Spanish-speaking radio stations urging and informing people to participate.  These were very planned affairs coordinating an exclusive use of American flags vs. the flags of Latin nations, the wearing of white clothing and the participation of children.  Cell phones and text messaging were widely used to expand the crowds.  The effect was immediate and profound.  No anti-immigrant legislation was enacted.  A new organizing paradigm was born.

When opposition to Proposition 8 in California failed and gays lost the right to marry, and later when Gaza was attacked, spontaneous Facebook demonstrations proliferated across the country.  Cell phones and text messaging were widely used to inform.  Tens of thousands of people in hundreds of events congregated with little advanced notice.  Established organizers often arrived at demonstrations they did not themselves create, consulting and guiding overwhelmed Facebook sponsors as the events began.

When the …

During the several years I created comic panels and strips, I would lie down on my couch, sketchbook in hand, and run comparisons or associations between not obviously related categories or themes, seeking incongruous connections.  If I found the kind of matching-up that I was seeking, humor with some insight would result.  Disappointment and bitterness often accompanied these comic strip and panel productions.  Humor often serves to reveal and share hidden feelings.  Talented humorists tease out the universalities in situations, allowing us to feel disappointed, frustrated and sometimes relieved and appreciative all at once.

I did most of my comic production at the end of a marriage, during the divorce, dating, and then remarriage.  A lot of the comics revolved around relationship, the nature of relationship and the brutal challenges of connecting with another human being.  This comic creating period lasted about five years.

At about the same time I was producing comics, I rediscovered music.  As a teenager and as an adult before my first marriage, I listened to and created music.  That faded as I grew older, disappearing from my life during the twelve years of that relationship.  Music re-entered my life as I turned toward dating a …

Toxic Irony

March 14, 2009 | Leave a Comment

Category: Uncategorized

We are passing out of the age of irony and entering a stage of blame.

“Irony” has many connotations.  For me, a suspicion of underlying processes and an expectation of disappointment cover much of what the word implies.  Observing and comparing incongruities helps predict that manipulations are being engaged.  We come to expect hidden motives.  Quality relationship and communication become depreciated by expectation of differences between the hidden and the seen.

We expect the government to lie.  It sort of goes with the territory of information manipulation on a massive scale.  When a government lies, and we know it’s lying, and the government knows that we know that it’s lying, then we’ve crossed a line into toxic irony.  Trust, expectation of reciprocal integrity, becomes denigrated by an environment where transparency is interpreted to be naïve.

The age of irony hit full stride with Ronald Reagan achieving the presidency and declaring that supply side economics was a viable economic model.  Even George Bush, Reagan’s opponent in the primaries, was disgusted and described supply side as voodoo economics.  Americans voted a preference for a storyteller over Carter, the sharer of difficult truths.  Consider that the Iran Hostage Crisis that took down the …

Reframing

March 13, 2009 | Leave a Comment

Category: Art, Society, Unconscious, Web

We humans experience consciousness as a two-way split.  This offers us an ability to toy with time, space and storytelling while often suffering from a misinterpretation of what we perceive.  We can also commit deceit.

Our experience of the split gets interpreted in a number of different ways.  There is right and wrong, evil and good, left and right, yes and no, me and not me, and us vs. them.  There is also what we are aware of and what we are not aware of, which can be framed as what is conscious and what is unconscious.

In psychotherapeutic intervention, there is what is called the “reframe.”  Faced with a client or patient with a conscious mind deeply polarized from an unconscious, the therapist will seek common ground in the form of an unconscious intent that the conscious can agree with.  The conscious may feel powerless to influence unconscious processes that seem to generate behaviors or experiences contrary to conscious goals.  Still, the conscious can learn to trust that the reasons behind the frustrating behaviors or experiences make deep sense.  From this new perspective, the therapist’s third position outside the polarized personality acts as a model for how two seemingly …

Modern technology serves hidden societal assumptions. Different societies encourage radically different uses of technology. A hybrid transitional society with easy access to energy supplies and natural resources, such as the United States, proliferates technologies like a wildflower garden sends out seeds. Still, there is a method to the madness of technological innovation.

On one side perches the atomic bomb and pregnancy ultrasound, two of the most powerful tools of a patrifocal society. On the other side, serving a matrifocal society, are the Pill and the Internet.

Across the world there is a war being fought between destruction and creation. On the eastern front, battles wage across a woman’s womb; and the sex of the survivor determines both the structure of future society and that society’s talent and tendency to innovate. On the western front, the military-industrial-financial world alliance is clashing with the Internet society, and losing.

Female foeticide is one of the greatest killers on the planet, a scourge that goes almost unremarked. Modern ultrasound technology has facilitated the abortions of female fetuses rather than the drowning and smothering of infants. It is a machine that insures a child is male. The liberal West supports abortion. The conservative West supports …

Making It Up

March 11, 2009 | Leave a Comment

Category: Myth/Story, Society

Humans are story tellers, metaphor makers, a species moved by symbol.  It’s not just that we invent mythologies or stories we believe to be true, stories occurring in another time or place.  It is the fact that these stories sit at the root of both what it is to be consciously conscious while at the same time entitled and clueless.

As creators of content where nothing before existed, we are an astonishing reflection of the greater consciousness that animates the all.  Yet, with an ability to disregard the larger interconnected web of the all, instead paying close attention to our own unique fabrications, we are also a bane of that subtlety and complexity that surrounds us.

Jared Diamond, in his book Collapse, describes several times over the last few thousand years that humans and their immediate environment suffered the consequences of the human gift with words.  Societies, unable to see the repercussions of their creations, engaged in destruction.  It’s a pattern we keep repeating.

We have an ability to make stuff up that doesn’t closely approximate the nature of the surrounding environment that is affected by what we make.  The cure for this uniquely human malady is directly related to …

Opening Old Eyes

March 10, 2009 | Leave a Comment

Category: Activism, Society, Web

Talking with Left activist and organizer friends, I would conclude that there seems little awareness of the deep structural societal changes underway.  Much of the Left expects more of the same.  In the 1960s, many of us had the experience of participating in a profound cultural transformation.  Most of the folks I know now don’t see or feel what we experienced then as happening now.  It is astonishing how deeply the Left has been purged of vision and optimism by the free market free-for-all of the last thirty years.  Our youth are not burdened in this way.

Perhaps part of this is due to the split between the practical and the spiritual.  Since the 60s, folks I know either stayed politically active or drifted off in New Age directions.  Not too many friends maintained a position in both worlds.  A re-embracing of the two polarities would be useful going forward.  Practical spirituality or spiritual pragmatism would be a boon to the Left right now, a Left seemingly unable to intuit a politic that can experience destruction and positive transformation as closely tied.

Since the 1960s, there has been a remarkable surge in secular spiritualism with yoga, martial arts, alternative medical …

Twelve-step programs have provided opportunities for many people to experience profound personality transformation.  Twelve-step programs allow individuals to identify with a third position, which transcends their conflicting selves while at the same time connecting them to a mythology allowing some facility communicating with non-narrative unconscious processes.  Many psychotherapeutic interventions rely upon third position identification and symbol communication to allow the patient an experience of personal transcendence that includes relief from internal conflicts.

In the previous two pieces I contextualized these two interventions within the context of human evolution.  The very split we bridge has an evolutionary etiology.  The remedies have an evolutionary explanation.  There are other pathways that the process of human personality transformation engages in that find reflection in our species’ transformations.

Perhaps the most ubiquitously transformational of all human experience is falling in love.  To attribute it all to hormones is demeaning.  Consider elevating the significance of hormones.

Testosterone and estrogen and their families of related hormones animate each of us, as individuals, as members of society, as examples of our species and as participants in the animal world.  People seeking psychotherapeutic intervention often feel compelled to do so to find a mate.  They are unable to extricate …

I’m sympathetic to several mythological scale interpretations.  I believe that myths come in hierarchical levels, with layers based upon the evolutionary dynamic.  Evolution unfolds at biological, societal, ontological and personal levels.  So do the stories that signify the processes at those levels.

Jung can be right regarding species specific stories or archetypes that target shared biological experience.

Levi-Strauss might nail a mythology focused on trans-society shared cultural roots.

Freud might intuit the labeling of a symbol that significantly expresses a specific culture’s understanding.

One person’s dreams may reveal a symbol right for that person based on the associations that person has for a particular object or event.

The levels bleed into one another.  We often become chauvinists for the level that we fetishize.  That sort of goes with the territory of being human.

Associations or relationships circulating around a particular symbol elevate that symbol to a particularly powerful usefulness.  Still, it’s vital we not take symbol too seriously or statically.  It’s as fluid as language, as vital yet as insubstantial as art.

How symbol comes into play regarding personal transformation has to do with an individual’s ability to both allow himself or herself to offer allegiance to the proto language …

A primary model of personal transformation is that a patient or client experiences change after repeated exposure to a third person, a therapist, who projects unconditional acceptance of the client.  The client’s underlying motivations for engaging in frustrating or not desirable experiences or behaviors are embraced by the therapist as reasonable, normal, even heroic.  The client’s split experience becomes less split and symptoms begin to lift as internal combat subsides.

The premise is that there is some kind of dissociation or split resulting in symptoms or uncomfortable experiences, a split that can be bridged or healed when the patient is provided a model of how to take a noncombative third position.

Splits naturally occur during ontogeny, biological evolution and when observing societal transformation.  It’s as if the Hegelian thesis/antithesis/synthesis sequence describes evolution at any scale.  This blog suggests that males and females are naturally split and evolve in different directions.  When males evolutionarily accelerate in maturation, females neotenize.  When females accelerate, males delay in maturation or exhibit neoteny.  It seems that splitting, seeking cooperation while moving farther apart, is natural to our species.

Ontogenetically, while one is an embryo and in early childhood, testosterone surges compel the trimming or pruning …

“In the extraordinary closing words of his report on the Schreber case, Freud rediscovers the fourfold parallelism of classical recapitulation: the child, the modern savage, our primitive ancestor, and the adult neurotic all represent the same phyletic stage–the primitive as true ancestor, the savage as modern survivor, the child as a recapitulated adult ancestor in Haeckelian terms, and the neurotic as a fixated child (=primitive). . . .” (Gould, S.J. (1977) Ontogeny and Phylogeny.  Cambridge: Belknap Press, pp. 158-9)

It has been a focus of this website that differing scales of evolution are tied together by processes that different scales share.  The premise that ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny explored the relationship between individual growth and species transformation, though the specific dynamic of that relationship were not uncovered.  Gould explored the various theory fashions that encouraged 18th and early 19th century academics to see relationships between biology, society, ontogeny and individual experience.  How exactly those four scales juxtaposed was not satisfactorily explained.  What was called parallelisms has of late mostly been discussed by philosophers such as Ken Wilber.  Modern reductionist perspectives have shown no interest.  Google “threefold parallelism” and fewer than 500 websites are displayed.

This work has detailed a hypothesized …

Approaching the sixth anniversary of the start of the Iraq War and the second anniversary of there being no Left mass action to protest the war, it is interesting to consider the United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ) conference last December.

At that UFPJ conference, there was surprisingly little rancor between those that sought mass action and the status quo that wanted no large single demonstrations to protest the war.  It was not a close vote.  Perhaps that’s why there was little combat.

There was the decision to conduct mass action in early April with an emphasis on a variety of issues.  There would be no one clear message.  But, then again, the Left has no one clear message.  There are three reasons why.

Obama, running against the Iraq War candidate, emphasized that he would be pulling troops out.  Obama, as a black man, has congruently, metaphorically manifested the change he says he’ll bring.  The economy is turning media and Left attention to issues of economic justice.

As economic justice becomes the new rallying point for the American Left, there is an opportunity for an alliance between hard and soft Left factions.  Maybe almost all the folks at the next …

Disconnect

March 4, 2009 | Leave a Comment

Category: Activism, Society, Web

It may be a natural process for an organization to seek to control outcome by controlling process.  At a United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ) conference in December, I observed an attempt by the steering committee to establish permanent steering committee members based on the perceived constituency of nationally and regionally based member organizations.  The idea was that there is little parity when large constituency organizations were in the same voting pool as very small organizations.  It seemed that large constituencies were often disenfranchised.

The solution was to permanently establish an assembly of agreed-upon large constituency organizations.

The proposal failed.  There were a number of reasons.  Perhaps the most obvious was that the authors of the proposal had not done detailed research and seemed unaware of several established regional and statewide coalitions.  They chose a couple that were statewide only in name.  The choice for regional and statewide permanent members seemed arbitrary.

To me, there was a more subtle dynamic in play.

An established organization seeks to achieve organization goals with as little conflict as possible.  This involves individuals within the organization making decisions based on what individuals perceive will make his or her life easier.  Folks rely upon established …

There is a pattern to pattern.  When and how pattern emerges in connection to what it is to be human can suggest more than a little bit about what we are all about.

If there is an original art, and that art is rhythm, dance and sound, then who we are as humans perhaps can be discovered by an exploration of that art.

There are patterns to those things that don’t fit patterns in academia, pieces that don’t fit into the puzzles of established paradigms.  Like an archipelago of volcanic islands suggesting a tectonic rift, patterns of things that don’t fit patterns can reveal hidden meta patterns not observable in other ways.

Looking for patterns within patterns, we seek answers to mysteries.  Having created a category of humans called autistic, we observe these people that often reveal difficulty using language, exhibit nonmetaphoric play conventions, display obsession with pattern replication and struggle making social contact.  The unique ways that the autistic person confronts pattern suggests that pattern is at the root of understanding autism.

Observing changes in pattern and hypothesizing the nature of underlying structures based upon those changes again emphasizes the importance of pattern patterns.  Societal evolution does not display …

The Obama Administration is seeking to wrest the economy away from a depression while addressing several interconnected and growing crises.  Borrowing and taxing, we are creating jobs.  Redistributing assets, we are seeking health care for all, a reduction in greenhouse gases and an effective educational system.

And we’re seeking to do this in the midst of a profound transformation of society.

Old conventions are crumbling as our traditional vertical, hierarchical institutions are coming down.  The consumer economy and its evil twin, the free market, are greatly diminished.  The Obama Administration, as it seeks jobs and engages in crisis management, is not concentrating on what institutions might replace those that are disappearing.  At this point in the process, a little vision and a little money might go some way.

Global horizontalization is being driven in part by the rise of the Internet and cell phone technologies.  Conventions have emerged that allow the most visited sites to achieve the most visibility.  The most popular videos, blogs and presentations achieve success in part because there are web applications that allow those presentations that receive the most attention to be rewarded with an elevated status in the form of prime positioning.  At this time, …

In meditation, I sometimes have an experience of an underlying consciousness characterized by a twin identity:  creation and perception.  It’s sort of a pitcher-catcher relationship, like a basketball player that plays superb offense and defense.  It is also called yin and yang.  There is the cosmic artist and the cosmic appreciator.  Each moment is filled with a seemingly infinite intelligence and vast humor engaged in deep play.

I’ve wondered if this dichotomy is a vagary of human split consciousness with our physicality deeply informed by estrogen and testosterone.  Probably so.  Regardless, with the body I have and the instrument of perception that I was granted, that is how the music sounds.

As we have observed the evolution of the web and the dissolution of our consumer economy, it seems as if that music is growing louder.  There is an emergence of creativity and appreciation in purer, less hindered forms as the Internet encourages the pairing up of performers with audience.  Without the barriers of money, geographic distances or even language, new venues have emerged, such as Youtube, that allow a profound proliferation of creative content while training visitors to see and listen with new eyes and ears.

The line between …